Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fun Weekend!

On Friday I had a low-key night in with my roommates and caught up on some TV. On Saturday I got my car washed ($7.95) and then went shopping...I was getting frustrated because I wasn't finding what I wanted, but finally at the last store after almost 2 hours of wandering around the mall, I found a pair of skinny jeans and a cute dress! There was a sale going on, plus the cashier gave me an additional 20% off due to a "friends & family" weekend so my total was $102.23. I splurged using the extra cash I had! That night I went on a date - he paid and I think the meal came out to about $60 including tax and tip. On Sunday I went for frozen yogurt ($2.95), studied, watched TV and went to yoga.

I would say it was a successful and fun weekend! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday Night Date!

If you follow me on Twitter, you would know that I went on a date last night!

It was a blast! He is funny, outgoing, talkative and intelligent. The sushi was good and the restaurant was awesome. The waiters didn't even care that we sat there talking for over half an hour after we (well, he) had paid for our meal, and we had been there for 3 hours already!

He already brought up going out on another date when he walked me to my car, and said he would call me. I can't wait to hear from him! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Checking Account Cushion = Extra Cash

I track every single purchase that I make in my budget spreadsheet. At the end of every month, I reconcile my budget and put my leftovers into savings, which is usually my E-fund and Roth IRA.

As of today, I have $995 in my checking account which seems abnormally high! I made sure that my full rent amount for next month is waiting in my brick & mortar savings to be debited and sent to my landlord via automatic bill pay - yes, it's all there. So it wasn't because I missed putting that away. After the rest of my monthly automatic expenses get debited and I pay my roommates for utilities/cable for September and spend about $100 from now til next week's paycheck and save my September monthly leftovers, my checking account will still have $500 in it!

I went back into my spreadsheet and went through each month (different tabs) to see how much I had leftover after putting the leftovers in savings. Sound confusing? Let's say I had $200 leftover for a particular month, which is after all my expenses and savings is done, including $200 to my Roth IRA and $250 to Emergency/Travel/Gift/Car Funds. I would probably split $175 of the remaining $200 between my E-fund and Roth IRA, or whatever I feel like adding to in that particular month. So that leaves me with a $25 cushion. Some months seem random, it looks like I've left as much as $80 unallocated to just sit in my checking account.

I like a cushion, but I don't need THAT much of a cushion! After all, I have $1,000 for random emergencies in my b&m savings which I can access/transfer immediately. Usually I leave around a $250 cushion in my checking account, but it looks like over the past 8 months, I've been leaving enough that it slowly built up to $500!

Now I am trying to figure out what to do with it! After all, October is the other 3-paycheck month of this year and I will be saving almost all of that extra paycheck anyway. Essentially, I am giving myself $250 to play with! I am thinking a new pair of designer jeans and some shoes/accessories, or new workout shirts and a sports bra... I'm not big on gadgets, my camera and iPod work great even though they are both a few years old.

Any suggestions, or should I just go shopping?! :) Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NYC: What I Did & What I Spent!

Disclaimer: I am obsessed/addicted/in love with NYC.

I spent a lot. I ate a lot. I did a lot. I hung out with one of my best friends and her friends, and my parents. I also saw a musical (The Toxic Avenger) with my Mom, which was hilarious and we got front-row seats from the TKTS booth! A big surprise was that my Dad, out of his generosity and ever-giving nature, gave me a check for $500 and told me to go wild! He's not usually one to hand out money like that, especially over the last year where him and my Mom have been a bit more frugal due to the economy and loss in their retirement accounts.

So, I followed my Dad's instructions. That $500 definitely went wild, and quickly! I spent $100 on a few round of drinks, a new battery for my digital camera and some meals. The remaining $400 all went to (much-needed) new clothes! I bought a new pair of flip flops, a lightweight jacket, a pair of boots (pictured), 3 shirts, 2 belts, a long necklace, a set of bracelets, a lightweight scarf, a new "I <3 New York" t-shirt to replace my old one, a skirt, underwear and 3 bras!

The city is also a big reason why I am a foodie. Here are just a few of the amazing restaurants: DBGB, Porchetta, Momofuku Ssam, Pio Pio, Ippudo, Creperie, Rice to Riches, Tiffin Wallah... :)

I will be taking $52.21 from my Travel Fund. This was for passport photos I had taken, a taxi ride, and some items I bought at Sephora.

I'm lucky (really lucky) to have amazing parents who do enjoy spoiling me on vacations! It's nice to not have to think about money sometimes and just have a fantastic time! :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching Up

I'm back from my week-long vacation to NYC! It was fantastic! And I'll admit that I am very obsessed/addicted to that city. Now if only I could live there... ;)

I barely did any studying while I was away and while I don't feel behind, I need to get back on track. Today I will be doing that plus some grocery shopping/cooking (ugh... I miss all the amazing meals and take out already!) and going through my finances from the trip. I'll post more about it once I'm back to reality.

Hope you had a great weekend! Looking forward to what my Google Reader has in store for me...

P.S. Does anyone else get the post-vacation blues? Not a fan :(

Friday, September 11, 2009


Finally! My vacation has arrived... I haven't been on one since April, so this is definitely overdue.

I'm off to NYC for a week! I'm addicted/obsessed with the city. I'll blog all about it when I return.

Have a fantastic weekend! You can still follow me on Twitter, I'll be doing some updates there. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For My Love of Reading

Last month, one of my goals was to make a new friend. It didn't happen. I realized that I needed to try a new approach! Most people at work keep to themselves or already seem to have their own social circles/cliques and don't seem to want to let new people like myself in, even when I try to make an effort. A lot of my closest friends moved away after graduation and now some that are around work crazy retail hours so it's difficult to get together.

Since I'd previously forayed into the world of online dating, I figured - why not try that medium to make new friends? I went for it and joined a Meetup group! I found a book club in my area and figured that would be a nice one to start out with.

My first meeting was last night and it was a blast! I joined so suddenly that I didn't even get around to reading the book for this month since the meeting was two days after I joined. However, no one seemed to mind and after the first hour of discussion, the conversation ventured to our own lives, what we do, could we relate to the book, etc. Most women were in their mid-late 20s, so I was definitely the youngest at 23. Even though we are all from various places (including someone from France!) and in different careers, we all share a love of reading! I got along with all the girls very well.

I cannot wait until next month's meetup. If you're looking for a new way to meet people, I would highly recommend the site. I definitely plan on trying out a few other ones like a social group or beach yoga! :)

PF side-note: The book club I joined does have a $1 administrative cost per meeting, and I paid $3 for parking since it was downtown. I made sure to eat before-hand and did not order anything to drink even though the location was a wine bar. So for $4 and 2.5 hours, a fantastic time was had!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hello, September!

The past week has been rather hot in my area of California (but no fires nearby, thank goodness) so it certainly doesn't feel like fall yet! I am really excited for this month because 1) it's Labor Day weekend coming up and 2) I am going on vacation in just over a week! I haven't used any vacation time since I went to NYC in April... and that's where I'll be going again, but for eight days instead of five! And so, here are my goals for the month:

1. CFA studying. This will be a continual goal until the December 5th exam!
2. Finish my book. Really, seriously! I should have ample time on my vacation and the plane.
3. Try some new recipes. A girlfriend and I have been exchanging recipes, but I keep forgetting to try hers, so I'll turn it into a goal!
4. Renew passport. I'm not sure how much it will cost, but I am going to Mexico in January and my passport is expiring in November, so I need to get this done ASAP.
5. Finish knitting my first scarf! My Mom sent me a care package last week that included new yarn (I finished my first mini-project a few weeks ago), plus knitting is really relaxing.
6. Spend no more than $400 on vacation. I didn't know what amount to set my vacation budget at... my flight is free thanks to points, but I plan on doing a lot of shopping/dining out/going out with friends! And to be honest, I like allowing myself to spend as I wish on vacation! :)

P.S. How is it September already?!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August Networth & Budget Leftovers

Oops, forgot to put this in my last post! Anyway, my networth increased by 6.20% in August. This was due to savings and increases in my 401k and Roth IRA.

I had a REALLY good month in terms of my budget! Due to not much spending in "entertainment/fun" and "dining out" plus a few other categories, I had $300 leftover! I put $200 into my Roth IRA and $100 into my E-fund.

Is it bad that I like extra savings on top of what I save automatically every month? ;)

Goodbye, August!

August was a good month! I had fun with friends and did a solid amount of studying. Here's a review of my goals from August:

August Goals
1. CFA studying. Specifically: the FRA topic section. Pass! I finished this section this weekend.
2. Read one book for fun. I have this one on hold at the library! Fail. I did get quite a bit of reading done in my current book, but didn't finish.
3. Try to make one new friend. Somehow! Fail. However... I am going to lunch tomorrow with a co-worker, so hopefully we'll start to be better friends! I also have a few ideas to keep working on this one.
4. Go to gym 2x per week. Pass! This was easy because it's already in my schedule.
5. Buy a rice cooker! Pass! I have used it a few times already and LOVE it!

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